Is there one simple thing you can do, to create more successful ads?

Sceptical? Well, we just told you, actually.

Better, harder working ads can be made to happen simply by obeying one simple rule* which we are about to reveal to you.

Trust us, this is the good oil.

The stuff the ad agencies never tell you, either because they don’t know themselves, or because they’re trying to keep what they do a mystery, so you keep paying squillions for it.

Simply make your headline a question, not a statement.

See … you’re reading this now, aren’t you? The headline has done it’s job: it’s got you ‘into the body copy’, to find the evidence you now know you want.

And here is that evidence. In a survey done by the NRMA in Sydney some years ago, headlines with questions in them were found to be SIX TIMES more effective at gathering a response than headlines that were statements. Questions are better “hooks”.

It’s really that simple.

So in other words, restrain yourself from saying “We make the best widgets in the world.” Or even “New widget released!”

Instead, say “What would you think if we had invented a better widget?”

Most marketers have never learned this, and consequently blather on about their own products or services intensely and boringly, ignoring the “what’s in it for me?” argument to consumers. They parrot features and advantages, and fail to engage the public in considering what the benefits might be to them. Then they wonder why their very expensive ads don’t work very hard, if at all.

Sadly, most ad agencies are now staffed with people straight out of college who don’t know this too.

If you don’t believe us, run one ad with a question for a headline, and the identical ad with a statement, and see which works best. It’s dead easy to do online now, for example, at virtually no cost, and also very easy to track the results.

If your ad agency won’t listen to you when you see that we are right, call us on +613 9426 5400, and we’ll re-write your advertising for you so it works harder.

Yes, really. Life sometimes IS that simple.

*Yes, yes, we know rules were made to be broken – but you need to know the rules to know when to break them.

Author: Stephen Yolland

Director of Creative Strategy and Partner @ Magnum Opus Partners.

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